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Immigration Checklist for Managers & Supervisors

March 18, 1999
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The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits anyone from hiring an illegal alien. HR managers, line managers and supervisors can use the checklist below to comply with the immigration laws.

Verify employment eligibility.
Verify and maintain records demonstrating that each employee hired after the law became effective (November 7, 1986) is eligible for employment.

Don’t request additional or different documents than the law requires.
If a manager requests more or different employment-eligibility documents than are required under the IRCA, or refuses to honor documents tendered that reasonably appear to be genuine, charges of discrimination can result.

Don’t retain an employee that you know is illegal.
If an employee’s illegal status becomes known after initial hire, it is unlawful to retain that employee. Knowledge of someone’s lack of authorization for employment includes not only actual knowledge, but also constructive knowledge.

Wait to fill out Form I-9 until the first day of work.
To avoid possible civil rights, age discrimination, and other discrimination suits, avoid having applicants fill out the immigration form (Form 1-9) during the application process. That form gives the employer access to information, such as age, that should not be used in the hiring decision. Instead, the employer could wait until the new employee reports for duty at the job site before completing Form 1-9.

Make sure documents are produced within three days.
A manager or supervisor who hires employees without documents must fire them if they fail to produce the documents in three days, unless they prove they have ordered them, in which case there is a 21-day extension.

Don’t discriminate because of nationality or citizenship.
Employers with four or more employees may not discriminate on the basis of the national origin or citizenship status of legal aliens. While citizenship status may be a basis for extending preference to one applicant over another individual who is an alien, the preference is limited to instances where the two individuals are equally qualified. Managers or supervisors that attempt to avoid problems under the immigration laws by not hiring "foreign-looking" individuals instead may be violating federal civil rights laws.

Don’t impose additional employment standards that could be discriminatory.
Be aware that seemingly neutral standards that are not supported by business necessity, such as lengthy residence requirements, preferred verification documents or restrictive language requirements, that in fact discriminate may be treated by the government as intentional discrimination irrespective of the true motive.

Cite: Immigration and Control Act of 1986, 8 USC Sec. 1324a-c.

Source: CCH Incorporated is a leading provider of information and software for human resources, legal, accounting, health care and small business professionals. CCH offers human resource management, payroll, employment, benefits, and worker safety products and publications in print, CD, online, and via the Internet.

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